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You Think It's Funny? It's Your Turn by Bald Surfer


It's hard to pinpoint when my interest in shaving my head started. When I was a kid, the only notable shaved heads were Yul Brynner and Telly "Kojack" Savalas. When I was in high school, sporting my white guy afro, there was an English teacher with obvious MPB who'd occasionally show up shaved clean, but usually kept a tight buzz - and in those days (around 1979), even a tight buzz was a rarity. And then, senior year, a couple of jocks, on a dare, decided to shave completely bald. I couldn't stop staring if I passed them in the halls. The rest of us were shaggy messes (which we thought was cool) and these guys were suddenly bald, with the tops of their head noticeable white. I couldn't stop thinking about how that would look or feel. But I wasn't a big jock. I was a skinny kid desperate to fit in, and would NEVER have the nerve to do something so radical. But I'd lay awake at night thinking about it. But I couldn't imagine getting up the nerve to do it myself.

I went off to college. Still shaggy. Now looking like Oates (from Hall & Oates) with the afro on top and in back but with the sides shorter. Soon they'd call that a "mullet". In junior year, one of my suite mates, Ricky, was ROTC and always had a tight buzz, short on top and almost shaved on the sides. I didn't know back then that this was called a "high and tight". In the early 80's that was really radical for anyone except ROTC, but, damn, I thought it was cool looking. And then one day, trying to save money, Ricky went to get his hair cut at a local barber/hair styling school. According to Ricky, the girl who cut his hair did such an awful job that he hated it and told her to "screw it and shave it all off". Crying over her failure, she shaved Ricky bald.

When he got home, I couldn't believe it. He was completely bald. And he had the right looks to make it look good. He was really pissed off about it, and I thought it would help if I told him how badass I thought it made him look. But he was still mad. Over the next couple of days, I couldn't help staring at Ricky's bald head, and he noticed. One night we were out drinking and he caught me staring and got angry.

"What do you keep staring at? Do you think it's funny that the girl f***ed up my hair? I thought you were my friend! What's your problem? Is this funny to you?"

A little scared, because Ricky was really strong and really drunk, I said "No. I actually think you look great. I always wished I had the nerve to do that. I swear! I'm not laughing. I'm jealous!"

In his drunkenness, Ricky started laughing, and then said "Jealous? What the f*** is wrong with you? I'm f***ing bald because that girl f***ed up my hair? You really want to look like this? Fine. If you're telling the truth, let's have your head, too. Otherwise, you're just an asshole, or maybe you're gay for me. Maybe that's why you keep staring! Either way, I'll kick your ass!"

"Gay? Dude, you've seen my girlfriend! I'm not gay. And I'm not making fun of you. But I'm not ROTC. And I'm way scrawnier than you. If I thought I could look as good as you, I'd let you shave my head in a heartbeat!"

He was drunk and riled up. "You're an asshole, you're queer, or you're gonna be bald. Make your choice."

I was drunk too, but I didn't want to lose my friend. I didn't want him to think I was gay. (No judgements on gay people, but I wasn't gay!). So in a drunken stupor, I said, "OK - shave my head like yours." Ricky busted out laughing, put his arm around my shoulder and we headed back to the dorm.

Today, it's never hard to get your hands on a set of clippers but back then (this must have been 82 or 83), nobody had clippers handy. So when we got back to the dorm, we went into the suite bathroom, and, while I shook with fear, Ricky started hacking off my hair with a pair of desk scissors. First, off came the long curly back. Then he started chopping away at the top. Long hanks of dark curly hair falling to the bathroom floor. I was faced away from the mirror, had no idea what I looked like, but I was both scared and excited.

When the scissors had done all they could, Ricky grabbed his Norelco electric razor, popped up the trimmer and used it to take off as much hair as he could. He was laughing as he took it all off. When the trimmers were done, he started running the electric razor over my head. I think what struck me most was the sound of the razor echoing inside my head as he ran it over and over until my head was smooth. I was so scared about what I'd look like, a scrawny pale guy with no hair on his head. But I was so excited to finally know what it looked and felt like. It took all my willpower to keep from letting Ricky see me get hard at the prospect.

Finally done, Ricky rubbed his hand all over my now bald head. The feel of a hand run across the bare skin was a rush. He started laughing hysterically and said, "There! Now you can stare at your own head and leave me alone."

I brushed the hair from my shoulders, stood up and turned to look in the mirror. Who WAS that guy? I was bald! I ran my hand over the smooth scalp, but it didn't feel like it was a part of my body. I just stood there, shaking, scared, embarrassed and excited all at the same time.

The next day, my other friends all made fun of me. I tried to explain it off as a stupid drunken prank. Ricky and I stayed friends - and still are, 30 years later. Of course I let it all grow back after that, but years later, when shaved heads became cool and acceptable, I took it all off again and have shaved every day for over 10 years now. Ricky grew his hair a bit after he got out of the Army, but unlike me, he was a victim of MPB and finally had to go back to bald as well. And to this day, I tease him that I'm bald by choice. Nature made the call for him.



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